Delegation Welcomes New FEMA Wildfire Assistance

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with Congressman Peter DeFazio and the other Democratic members of the Oregon Congressional Delegation, say more help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is on the way for those impacted by the recent wildfires.

A release said eight counties, including Douglas, will get assistance for removing and disposing of hazardous materials and solid waste debris as part of FEMA’s response to the fires.

The release said the counties are getting what’s known as Category A assistance. That follows a recent request to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor from the lawmakers, led by Wyden and DeFazio.

Wyden said he heard this past weekend, while touring fire-devastated areas with Administrator Gaynor, that communities are worried about growing mountains of hazardous materials left after the blazes ripped through a number of locations. He said he is glad that FEMA has recognized the urgency of the situation as fall rains come.

DeFazio said its critical that the removal of dangerous waste be expedited before it can leech into critical watersheds, including the McKenzie River.

Information from FEMA said the program is for local and state governments, tribal nations and certain non-profits. Commercial entities, corporations, private businesses and individuals are not eligible applicants.